Cape Canaveral, Florida – If Bruce Wayne were to trade in the Batmobile for a more-fashionable SUV, this is what we’d expect it to look like.
A combination of armoured fighting vehicle, camper van and lunar rover, it is in fact all of those things – because it’s designed not for catching baddies in Gotham City, but for exploring the trackless wastes of Mars.
NASA’s Mars Rover Concept has to house and protect its crew from the harsh climate of the Red Planet, make its own road wherever it goes and and be absolutely puncture proof – hence the airless gumball tyres on the all-wheel drive six-wheeler.
The front half of the body has a control post and limited accommodation for a crew of four, while the bulky rear houses life support systems, navigation and communications systems, and a mobile lab for scientific research.
This concept won’t actually be going to Mars; it’s more likely that whatever local transport the Mars One settlers – one of whom will be South African Adriana Marais – will take with them will be much smaller, more like a recreational quad.
Created by custom car builder Parker Brothers Concepts in aluminium and carbon fibre, it’s 8.5 metres long, 4.27 metres wide and 3.35 metres tall, and weighs 2.27 tons.
The Mars Rover Concept is on display at Kennedy Space Centre until 4 July and will then go on tour as part of Nasa’s “Summer of Mars” programme, which aims to educate people, especially young people, about Earth’s neighbouring planet – which is probably why it looks the way it does.